Walgreens names Starbucks executive Roz Brewer as CEO

Brewer, 59, will replace current Walgreens CEO Stefano Pessina on March 15.

Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. will name Starbucks chief operating officer Rosalind Brewer to serve as its next CEO, the company confirmed on Tuesday.

Brewer, 59, will replace current Walgreens CEO Stefano Pessina on March 15, the company said in a press release. She will be the only Black female leading a Fortune 500 company.

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“WBA is a world-class and trusted organization whose purpose I deeply admire,” Brewer said in a statement. “The healthcare industry is constantly evolving, and I am excited to work alongside the entire WBA team as we deliver further innovation and positively impact the lives of millions of people around the world every day.”

Brewer will joined Walgreens after a three-year stint at Starbucks. As chief operating officer, she guided the global coffeehouse chain in its shift toward digital sales, led a tech-based overhaul of its company-owned stores and revamped employee benefits. More recently, she led the company’s effort to adjust its store operations during the coronavirus pandemic.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
SBUXSTARBUCKS CORP.105.03-0.17-0.16%
WBAWALGREENS BOOTS ALLIANCE, INC.48.48+1.28+2.71%

Prior to her role at Starbucks, served as CEO of the Sam’s Club division at Walmart. She has served on Amazon's board of directors since 2019.

Walgreens shares rose more than 8% on news of Brewer’s hiring in after-hours trading.

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Pessina will serve as WBA’s executive chairman of the board upon Brewer’s arrival. He became CEO in 2014 following Walgreen’s merger with Alliance Boots and announced his intention to step down in July.

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson addressed Brewer’s impending departure during the company’s earnings call on Tuesday.

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“Roz has accepted an incredible opportunity as chief executive officer at another publicly traded company,” Johnson said. “She will be leaving Starbucks at the end of February, and her next role is expected to be disclosed in the days ahead. In the meantime, I want to share we’re very excited for her and are grateful for her many contributions over the years in leading our operations across the Americas.”

The Wall Street Journal was the first to report Brewer’s hiring.